You know, it’s a cute idea with some good actors and played for the right level of comedy, but there are some problems with Stan Against Evil.
Last season, I had some issues, especially the appearance that IFC doesn’t seem to care much about the show, but I’ve started to realize that maybe the issues go a bit deeper than I had thought.
So let’s look at season 2 and see just what is going wrong.So, as for what I think is wrong. There was an overarching storyline of sorts this season, something that I really didn’t feel last year, where Stan wanted to bring his dead wife back. That’s completely understandable. It was an improvement over what we saw in season one. Unfortunately, even though they talked about it a lot and resolved it in the end, I never felt like it went far enough.
The thing is, I really love Stan, but it becomes painfully obvious this year that even though he’s the title character, this isn’t a show about him. It’s about Evie and frankly, I don’t want it to be. I’m a fan of Janet Varney, especially some of her Rifftrax work, but in this case, I like John C. McGinley more. He’s what makes this show special and he’s becoming less and less a part of it. They even closed the season out with Stan being dead before he and Evie woke up in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
I’m also not wild about Leon and Denise, who most of the time have very little to do. They walk on screen, say whatever stupid thing they are supposed to say, and go off into the background again. The interplay between Stan and Evie is good but you have to have more than that. As a comedy, you don’t have to have much of a reason to care about anyone, but you need something. Stan is crotchety, Evie is good at heart, but Leon and Denise? What is there to recommend either of them?
And they even tried to give Denise more to do this year, especially in the episode where she’s supposed to keep Evie awake, but she comes off as more annoying than endearing. In the end, I just wanted her to go away so we could get back to Stan. The cast is tiny as it is, but when you want half of them to vanish because they’re ultimately pointless, something is wrong.
It also doesn’t feel like they’re actually going anywhere. With seasons this short, advancing any kind of narrative is difficult at best but I don’t think they’re really trying. It just stumbles from episode to episode without any particular goal in mind. What do we know more about Willard’s Mill this year that we didn’t know last year? How much closer to a resolution have we moved? Not at all? Why not?
I mean, I really want to love this show, it has a lot of the pieces there that would make for a fantastic and funny series but it doesn’t feel like those pieces are actually moving in a meaningful way. It’s like a pigeon is knocking them around the chess board and we see them wherever they fall. There doesn’t seem to be a larger picture than the wacky adventures of Stan and Evie. And that gets dull very quickly. Is this just going to stumble around until IFC cancels them for low ratings? Is that all we have to look forward to? Because if that’s it, then what’s the point? What do we have to invest in these characters and their situation? At the moment, I just can’t find anything larger than what we’ve seen.